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Police hunt for suspects in IHOP armed robbery

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Buffalo: Police hunt for suspects in IHOP armed robbery
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The IHOP Restaurant on Walden Avenue is closed Monday following an armed robbery that took place Sunday night. YNN's Kate McGowan was at the restaurant this morning and has more on the suspects involved.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — One after another, customers pulled up to the IHOP along Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. Many just making their usual stop for breakfast.

"It is our regular breakfast place," said a customer.

A sign was posted on the door, telling customers the restaurant chain was closed Monday. The restaurant was the scene of an armed robbery just hours earlier.

Cheektowaga police said around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, two males walked into IHOP, one armed with a handgun and the other with a knife and demanded money from the employees.

Police said the suspects threatened the six people inside, including two customers.

"They wanted to get into the safe so the employees and customers were herded into the back room or office near the safe," said Cheektowaga Police Captain, Jim Speyer. "One of the managers called the regional manager looking for the combination to the safe."

Captain Speyer said the regional manager called the police, while the victims locked themselves inside the office, without the suspects. When police arrived, they treated it like a hostage situation because they were unsure if the armed men were still inside.

"Called in SWAT and made contact with victims who were in the back office," said Speyer.

With police protection, all six made it out safely and SWAT was able to check the building for the suspects. Captain Speyer said he is unsure where the men are from or what direction they fled.

Customer, Margaret Jones said, "Very shocked, very shocked. It's such a nice place, I'm really surprised. I wouldn't imagine anything happening like that in this area, at all."

"Unfortunately I see more of this happening in the future since the economy is so bad," said a Buffalo resident.

IHOP's management said they are fully cooperating with the criminal investigation.

"Obviously this doesn't happen very often and we're just grateful that nobody was hurt," said IHOP senior manager, Craig Hoffman.

Police said if it wasn't for the swift actions of employees, the outcome may have been a lot different.

"I commend them. They did a very good job, separating themselves from the danger," the police captain said.

Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.

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